If you think that sewing is just about the sewing machine, you would be not-so-pleasantly surprised when you begin your sewing journey. The types of tools you would need to have a seamless and smooth-sailing sewing experience can accumulate to quite a lot — but don’t let that get to you. It’s a simple trip to the sewing shop to get all the essentials.
There are a lot of articles and people out there telling you to buy everything — some would even tell you to buy a sewing set that’s already put together. I would advise you not to, and instead, put together a sewing toolkit for yourself. It may or may not be cheaper, but one thing’s for sure: everything in the sewing toolkit would be what you need for your personal sewing journey.
In this article, we’ll look at the essentials in a sewing toolkit, as well as why you really need one.
What Is A Sewing Toolkit?
Before we get into it, what exactly is a sewing toolkit? It’s basically a kit of all the essential tools that you would need to sew anything. Whether it’s a small pouch or a full-on coat, there are a few tools you would need that would assist you in getting the perfect corners, shape and presentation of your finished product.
I personally store all my tools in a box — I have a few different boxes for different tools as, overtime, my tools get more and more. I do have one small box that carries all the top essentials that I know I would need for every project.
You could keep your sewing tools however you want — in a box or a bag, whichever suits you.
Why Do I Need A Sewing Toolkit?
As mentioned before, you really can’t avoid getting tools for your sewing. Things like thread and needle are already considered sewing tools, and these two things will accumulate more and more the longer you sew. So why not have a place to store all these tools so that when you need them, you know exactly where they are because they’re within reach.
What’s more, these tools would help you with every step of the sewing process — if you need to trim off some frayed edges, scissors would be there for the job; if you need to overturn a sewing product and get the perfect edge, the tweezers would ease the task for you.
Every item in the sewing toolkit should be useful for you when you’re sewing — they’re useful items rather than a hindrance, so don’t hold back getting these tools.
Essentials in A Sewing Toolkit
So now we’ll take a look at the essential tools you would need to start your very own sewing toolkit. It’s a pretty long list, but trust me, once you have them all, you would find yourself not having to run down to the nearest sewing shop to get a piece of item that’s part of your sewing project. Not only are you saving time but also money!
The first essential is definitely fabric scissors. How else are you going to cut your fabric? This tool can get pretty pricey — basically, the sharper and better the fabric scissors are, the more expensive it is. You can go for budget ones, but from my experience, they get blunt really fast and I had to buy a new pair again.
You would also need paper scissors for when you’re cutting sewing pattern pieces.
I personally don’t use this, but having pinking shears are extremely useful. They’re the type of scissors that have zig zag edges rather than a sharp blade. This type of scissors is useful for preventing fraying of the fabric.
Of course, needles are essential tools in a sewing toolkit. There are two types of needles you would need: one is the hand sewing needle and the other is the machine needle. For both kinds, you would need the various thickness of needles to accommodate various types and thickness of fabrics.
I can’t live without a thread cutter, especially if the sewing machine I use doesn’t have the auto-cutter function. I would need to cut the thread manually, and if there’s any thread dangling from the seams, I would need to cut them up myself using this tiny pair of scissors. A pair of big fabric scissors would be hard to do this as compared to a thread cutter, so I personally feel like this is one of the top essentials in a sewing toolkit.
Another top essential is the seam ripper. Any mistakes that we make, we would need to unstitch the sewing stitch and redo the stitching — to help with this task, you would need a seam ripper. They’re so tiny but extremely useful.
Depending on the project you’re on, you would need the tweezers more than others. Some sewing projects require extreme pointed edges where it’s hard for the fingers to reach — in that case, tweezers come in handy.
They’re not just for edges — I use tweezers to handle tiny objects like thread and buttons. The tweezers give me more control than my own fingers!
Sometimes, you would need to indicate on the fabric itself — like where the pocket or buttons go, or which side is the wrong side so you know where to place the sewing patterns. You can’t use normal pens or pencils — they are not only difficult to write on fabric but they also don’t come off fabric easily at all!
So you would need some tailor’s chalk that’ll go away as soon as you put the fabric in the wash! You can use this to indicate any markings like darts, adjustments and notches.
Fabric Marking Pens
Alternatively, you could get some fabric marking pens where the ink would disappear when exposed to steam. Unlike the chalk, this type of pen wouldn’t stick to all fabrics so it depends on what type of fabric you would be dealing with.
Fasteners — Buttons, Zippers, Hooks, etc
Having extra fasteners like buttons, zippers and hooks are great as it saves you a lot of time and trouble. You won’t have to go down to the sewing shop every time you need a fastener. It’s also great having extras just in case you lose one of them for your project while sewing.
You most definitely need pins in your sewing toolkit — both straight type and the type with the round heads. I recommend having both in your toolkit so you have a variety. Pins are useful to hold pieces of fabric together or to make sure you’re cutting the accurate shape based on the sewing pattern.
To hold your pins, you would need either a pincushion or a magnetic holder. Both have the same function of holding the pins in one place, so it really depends on your personal preference which you want. A pin cushion can come in a form where you can strap it to your wrists and make your sewing experience much more convenient.
When you’re sewing by hand, whether it’s a hem or an area unreachable by a sewing machine, the top bit of the sewing needle can dig into your skin a bit. That’s why you would need a thimble as a bumper for that. There are tons of thimbles out there with various sizes and designs, so you could buy the one you like the most!
If it’s not around your neck, you should have a measuring tape in your sewing toolkit. Any sewist should always have a measuring tape with them — they’re essential in measuring not only people but also the sewing project.
Different types of fabric require different feet for the sewing machine — you ought to have them in your sewing toolkit when the time comes to switch. At the beginning of your sewing journey, if you’re only using beginner-friendly fabrics, you probably wouldn’t need to switch to another machine foot, but when you get more advanced, it’s best to have a few at hand.
Sewing isn’t complete without thread, quite literally. Have the basic colours like black and white already in your sewing toolkit — and more than one roll. If you need to use a serger for your project, you would need at least three rolls of thread.
Bobbin & Bobbin Case
Sewing machines require bobbins, and some require bobbin cases. If you don’t have them, you won’t be able to continue your sewing project. Have a couple of bobbins and bobbin cases in your sewing toolkit to make it easier on yourself — have some of them even wind up with the most used coloured thread so you don’t have to wind it up each time.
Some forget this, but you would need a screwdriver once in a while when you’re changing needles or feet. I mean, you could use a coin but why make it hard on yourself — have a small one nearby when the time comes to do the changing.
I have never used a needle threader and I personally don’t know how to use it, but I understand that there are people who are the opposite of me and don’t know how to thread a needle. Get a needle threader — it’ll do the difficult task for you.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be in your toolkit but it needs to be around you — an iron and ironing board are essential to the sewing process. You would need to press down the seams of your project to make it look complete and presentable, as well as easier to sew.
Rotary Cutter & Mat
This last tool is not essential but rather an optional tool. I know a lot of sewists online love using the rotary cutter to cut their fabrics as it is convenient and easy, but quite honestly, you could do without it.
If you do use a rotary cutter, make sure you have a cutter mat as well.
So there you have it — all the essentials to start your very own sewing toolkit. Do you have all of them already, or have you left some out? If so, go to your nearest sewing shop and get them!